Posted by on January 15, 2014 - 4:21pm

Swedish doctors are attempting an innovative surgery to give womb-less women the opportunity to give birth to their own children. Nine women in Sweden have received womb transplants and doctors intend to help these women (through in-vitro fertilization) become pregnant and carry their own children. Each of the nine patients was either born without a uterus or had it removed due to cervical cancer. This is the fist major experiment to test the possibility of live, biological births in womb transplant patients.

Many European countries prohibit using a surrogate to carry a pregnancy, which leaves women without wombs fewer fertility options. Womb transplants that can lead to successful pregnancies and births have been attempted before—in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Britain, and Hungary—but have been unsuccessful. Lead researcher, Dr. Mats Brannstrom said, “This is a new kind of surgery; we have no textbook to look at.” Press over these transplants has given hope to former cervical cancer patients (who lost a uterus to cancer) as well as to the one in every 4,500 women born without a womb.

The largest unknown for the scientists is how the pregnancies will proceed. The babies will need ample nourishment from the placenta and blood flow needs to be optimal—which are difficult variables to control for with womb transplants. Brannstrom and his colleagues intend to begin the in-vitro process in the next couple of months—testing their transplant success in their human subjects after finding victory in their mouse, sheep, and baboon subjects. If successful, this will be a major contribution to science, offering an alternative for women who have few childbirth choices.

Source: Associated Press

Posted by on February 25, 2011 - 10:20am

Breast-feeding may help reduce some long-term negative side effects of cancer treatment in women who survived childhood cancer, according to a new study.

The findings suggest that making women aware of the benefits of breast-feeding should be part of routine recommendations for a post-cancer healthy lifestyle, said Susan W. Ogg and colleagues from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The researchers reviewed studies that examined whether women can successfully breast-feed after treatment for childhood cancer, how childhood cancer treatment affects women's health in general over the long term and whether breast-feeding might reduce both the risk and impact of treatment-related toxicity in cancer survivors.

The analysis revealed that breast-feeding can have a positive impact on a mother's bone mineral density, metabolic syndrome risk factors, cardiovascular disease and secondary tumors -- health factors that are all negatively affected by childhood cancer.

"Alongside advice to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, abstain from smoking, use suitable sun protection, practice safe sex and take part in regular physical activity, women who have survived childhood cancer and are physically able to breast-feed should be actively encouraged to do so to help protect them against the many lasting effects of cancer treatment," the researchers concluded.

The study findings were released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

About 80 percent of U.S. children and teens diagnosed with childhood cancer now survive, but many face major health challenges stemming from the cancer itself or its treatment. These challenges include impaired growth and development, organ dysfunction, reproductive difficulties and risk of cancer recurrence.

SOURCE: Journal of Cancer Survivorship, news release, Jan. 20, 2011

By Robert Preidt